Tuesday, January 4, 2011

After I surrendered my life to Jesus almost three decades ago, I began to write songs—something I’d never done before. In time, I received invitations to sing and share those songs with others. One of the invitations came from the church in which I’d grown up. On the one hand, I was excited to see everyone I’d known for so long again, but on the other, those same people had witnessed how I’d almost destroyed my life as a young adult.

It was hard to go back.

But, I did, and it turned out to be a wonderful day as I experienced in a real way the unconditional love God offers us. That night when I returned home, however, a battle ensued.

As I sat at my kitchen table, the enemy of our souls began to whisper to me about how I’d made a fool of myself. “Who did I think was to believe I could minister to others? After how I’d lived?”

My hands began to shake, and fear rose up in me. I felt so weak. Had I been wrong to go? My Bible lay open on the table before me. I was reading through the New Testament at the time and began to read where I’d left off that morning beginning with I Corinthians 1:26, “…think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, and not many of noble birth, and then on through the second chapter, which includes this verse, “I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling.”

It was as if God was sitting at the table with me to bring encouragement. It brought me comfort that even the apostle Paul shook at times. I later wrote this song:

With weakness and with trembling, I stand before you now,
And ask why I should be the one to go.
Because, surely there are others who are more strong than I,
And surely there are those who never ever ask you why.

And I hear you say:

“I haven’t chosen many noble ones,
I haven’t chosen many wise.
I haven’t chosen many ones the world called strong.
But, I’ve chosen weak and foolish ones,
Even some that are despised to show the world their ideas are wrong.
Your strength comes from me alone,
All glory to me give, because through my Son your victory is won.”

Lord, I praise you
Because in my weakness you are made strong,
And in my trembling it’s you I lean upon.

It’s You I Lean Upon c1984, Beverly Chitwood Varnado

So, yesterday when I saw Dr. Bob Tuttle’s email and read his words, “Our greatest strengths are anointed weaknesses.” A huge “Yes” of agreement rose inside of me.

The battle still rages. I often feel weak in the face of the things to which God has called me—this writing journey most of all. When I get fearful about a book coming out later this year, and hear that same old song and dance, “Who do you think you are? Why do you think you can minister to others? With the addition now of “Why do you think you can write?” I remember the words God spoke into my heart while I sat at my kitchen table all those years ago.

So, here I go, weakness and all, trusting only in His strength.

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